Tobias Ornes Andersen is becoming a very legendary name in Metal drumming. His recent work with the Norwegian Blackjazz band, Shining, really gives a fantastic showcase for everything Andersen can do. back in November I had the pleasure to send Tobias a few questions regarding Shining's latest album, International Blackjazz Society.
TDG: International Blackjazz Society has been out for a couple weeks now and it is getting quite of bit of deserved attention. What went into the writing process for this album?
Tobias Andersen: After One One One was released in 2013, we toured a lot. Both headlining and support tours. At the same time Jørgen started writing new songs. It was not the typical release the album - tour - songwriting cycle. We discussed the new ideas while being on the road, which was a really good idea, because we could really see what we missed in our live show, and then focus the songwriting towards that.
When it comes to the actual songwriting it is Jørgen who do everything. He sends out different solutions for parts/grooves etc, that we try out and discuss. But he is the brain, and got the full vision.
TDG: Shining is obviously known for pushing the boundaries on what is possible on every album, whether it is the formation of the Blackjazz sound on Blackjazz or the more simplistic and more straight forward (in comparison to Blackjazz) sound of One One One. International Blackjazz Society feels like a natural progression, yet still maintains the Blackjazz sound you've pioneered. Was the writing process this time around a natural one or was there anything you intentionally wanted to achieve that has not been done before?
TA: One thing we did was to demo all the songs and try out different solutions for the parts. We actually played most of the songs live before recording them.
It is also a more diverse album than One One One. We have free jazz, high energy fast songs, medium tempo, and actually a ballad.
This was intentionally yes!
TDG: My personal favorite song off International Blackjazz Society is House Of Control, which one can argue is the most subdued song on the album. I think it shows a great maturity in sound in knowing what to play and what not to play. Is that a challenge at all at this stage of knowing what to add and not add to a particular song?
TA: I guess it comes from experience and maturity. It is of course all about the whole sound, and not only individual instruments. (How a drum fill affects the vocals etc.)
Like i mentioned we did pretty good demoing and tried out a lot of different solutions. Then went for what we thought best served the song.
TDG: Was there anything from the International Blackjazz Society recording sessions that didn't make the album that might make an appearance in the future?
TA: No, not that i am aware of.
TDG: You guys are currently in the midst of a headlining European tour. How are the new songs translating in a live setting? Are the fans receptive?
TA: Yes! The new songs works amazing actually. They are really fun to play, and i think they really comes across in a live setting.
It is cool to see the fans dig the new material live!
TDG: In speaking of playing live...you guys have made huge music media attention this year with your performance on Trolltungo cliff. While looking absolutely gorgeous from what I've seen in pictures and video, it also looks absolutely insane! Was this a once in a lifetime appearance or would you ever dare trying this again? Has the attention of the performance becoming viral made an impact on making new fans?
TA: Hehe yeah, that was really insane! I don’t think we are going to play there again. For various reasons. But we will probably play some other crazy place!
I don’t know if we made new fans because of the Trolltunga thing. It truly got a lot of attention, which is good!
TDG: You have made quite a number of guest appearances since we talked in Minnesota in 2014 such as Marty Friedman to the band Haunted Shores. Do you enjoy the idea of working with some many different musicians? Has any experiences inspired your personally and how you write music?
TA: Its great fun to do things with other musician! Like the thing we did with Marty. I am sure we get inspired in some way. But i can’t point out a direct link to the result of our music.
TDG: Is there anything planned yet for 2016 yet? Any chance of hitting North America again next year?
TA: We are going to continue playing and promoting the new album International Blackjazz Society. We would love to come back to North America! But nothing is booked yet. I cross my fingers!
TDG: With 2015 about to come to a close, do you have any favorite albums that have come out this year?
TA: I really love the newest Kendrick Lamar album, How to kill a butterfly.
TDG: Thank you once again for taking the time to do this interview. It is an honor to be able to talk to you again. Before we are done, is there anything else you'd like to mention that I haven't brought up yet?
TA: Thank you! Check out the newest videos if you haven’t yet. We have two new live videos. One is from the studio and the other is from Trolltunga!
Both turned out really good!
Shining- International Blackjazz Society is available NOW via Spinefarm Records!